I can think of few things more relaxing than sitting back, pulling out a coloring book, and slowly filling a page with color. But you know what can make that experience even more soothing? Adding music.
Music has long been used as a therapy tool, and has been shown in studies to reduce stress and anxiety in hospital patients, relieve depression, and increase self-esteem.
Believe it or not, our newest giveaway combines the therapeutic powers of music with those of coloring!
This giveaway will span the rest of May, and there will be not just one winner, but TWENTY! Each week, we’ll be drawing five winners, so the earlier you enter, the more chances you have to win! My review of these books is below, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this page!
Winners will receive an Amazon coupon code for a free copy of the Color With Music title of their choice. Weekly drawings will be pulled from the full pool of entrants on Sunday, May 8, 15, 22, and a final five on Wednesday, June 1.
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I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce you to Color With Music, an innovative line of coloring books that include a CD right inside the front cover. These books are a comfortable size, about 8 inches square, with pages just a hair smaller. This is the perfect size to complete a page within an hour or two.
Each coloring book includes 48 illustrations, printed on just one side of medium weight, white paper. The pages are attached at the top, perfect for right and left handed colorists. They are a little like a notepad block, and it is very easy to cleanly remove one page from anywhere in the book. The covers are light cardboard, with the CD folded into the front cover and a flap that can protect the pages after the one you’re working on.
There are currently ten titles in the Color With Music series:
- Color With Music: Botanical Garden
- Color With Music: Mandalas
- Color With Music: Biblical Images & Themes
- Color With Music: Nature’s Wonders
- Color With Music: Owls Of The Night
- Color With Music: Patterns Shapes & Designs
- Color With Music: Sea Life
- Color With Music: Wild About Cats
- Color With Music: Spring Serenade
- Color With Music: Winter Wonderland
Keep scrolling to view sample pages and learn more about each of the books in the series!
By the way, if you’re looking for a really nice set of headphones to invest in for a more enjoyable listening experience, I have some recommendations for you! My boyfriend is a musician, so I like to think I have at least a decent idea of what I am talking about, haha.
For years I’ve been using Koss PortaPro headphones, and I still do use them at work every day. They’re a really light but well-constructed pair of headphones that fold up super tiny and come with a carrying bag. They’re great for if you want to take your coloring to a local coffee shop for an afternoon! (Looking for a coloring club in your area? Check out my list of coloring groups across the United States!) They boast surprisingly high quality sound for how inexpensive they are, and are incredibly adjustable. I highly recommend them if you are looking for high quality sound at a decent price.
As a birthday gift this year (happy birthday to me!) my boyfriend helped me upgrade my listening experience with a set of Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones and I am being serious when I say they are the nicest headphones I’ve ever owned. They have really soft leather pads that lock in the sound comfortably, without squeezing my head. But the coolest thing about them is how well the noise cancellation works: there is actually a tiny microphone on the outside of the headphones (powered by a AAA battery, which lasts a while if you remember to switch them off) that takes in the ambient noise of the room, and then the headphones emit the opposite frequency to truly cancel out the sound. You can also use them with the noise cancellation turned off if you don’t want to use a battery. The cord is detachable, so if you just want to use the headphones to cancel out white noise, you totally can. (Maybe I’m weird, but white noise drives me up the wall — I’d much rather have total silence!) I’ve used them so much in the short time I’ve had them, and the sound quality is noticeably better than other headphones I’ve used.
Color With Music: Botanical Garden
Botanical Garden is a lovely coloring book. The bright pink cover is really cheerful and it looks great on my coloring shelf! It is filled to the brim with illustrations of flowers, other plants, and butterflies. Some flowers that I recognized as I flipped through the book were roses, daffodils, giant sunflowers, daisies, and more. Some of the flower designs are more on the realistic side, and some are more abstract and whimsical. Line widths vary throughout the book from a medium weight to a thicker, darker weight; there are no extremely thin lines or microscopic details in this book!
Another major plus for me was how precise and sharp the printed lines were — I hate when I get “shadows” or blurring at the edges of the lines in my coloring books, an indicator of lower-quality printing, and that was definitely not the case here.
One thing you notice flipping through this book is that there are. a LOT. of butterflies. I would say that a quarter of the pages at least, and maybe up to a third of them, include butterflies. Like the flowers, some are drawn more abstractly, while others are more realistic. On a small number of pages, the butterflies are the focus rather than the flowers. It’s a nice degree of variation that I enjoyed while coloring, but was definitely not something I expected when I first saw the book.
My favorite pictures in this book were the more realistic pages with just flowers, from a variety of angles. Fortunately, there are a good number of pages like this in the book! Below is one of the sample images I completed from the copy the folks at Color With Music sent me:
The tooth of the paper was really nice for holding the color of the colored pencils I was using. For this picture, I used a combination of Prismacolor softcore colored pencils and Caran d’Ache Pablo colored pencils (which are pictured). The Prismas are softer (hence the name!) and therefore a little easier to blend together, whereas the Pablos keep a nice point for sharper lines. To get the solid black for the background, I used my black Tombow brush pen (available here in a 96 color pack). I love how uniform the color of the Tombow markers is on this paper.
I generally remove pages I am working on from my coloring books to color them, but even having done that I had no bleed-through issues with the black marker. Even then, the book has that other cardboard inlay that you can slip behind the current page to protect the ones after it, so bleed-through is really a non-issue with this coloring book.
The CD that accompanied Botanical Garden is printed with a really pretty sample image for inspiration. It mixes smooth instrumental music with the sound of rain, chirping birds and insects, and wind rustling through the leaves. I felt that it really helped me focus on the page I was coloring, slow down, and “smell the roses,” so to speak! I tend to rush while coloring (I know, it’s a bad habit!) but there was nothing rushed about the music and ambient sounds. They set an incredibly peaceful mood.
Here’s a sample track:
Overall, I was really impressed by the quality of the printing, the illustrations (they are by a Dover illustrator, Jessica Mazurkiewicz, so I wasn’t surprised!), and just the thought that went into Botanical Garden. This is a book (and a whole series) intentionally made to solve common problems colorists complain about…
Having issues with markers bleeding through your pages? These pages are printed on just one side and there’s a card to protect the next page.
Are you a left-handed colorist and you keep smearing your work or struggling with the spine of the book? This book is top-bound, so those worries are a thing of the past.
Want to remove a page without tearing or leaving a jagged edge? Easy, these pages come out as easily as paper from a notepad.
Beyond those features, the music CD is an absolute treat. I can see myself popping it in when I’m working on pages from other nature-themed books. It would make a great background track to fill the lulls of a quiet but comfortable coloring party.
I highly recommend Botanical Garden to anyone looking for a new, relaxing coloring book at a slightly smaller than average size but at a higher than average quality. You can pick up a copy, or just flip through the sample images, by checking it out here.
Color With Music: Mandalas
I also had the distinct pleasure of getting to review another one of Color With Music’s titles, Mandalas. This book has many features in common with the previous book — the whole series does, after all — but something that struck me as particularly nice was the book’s shape. It really works for mandala designs! Many mandala coloring books are printed in a more rectangular format in your standard, 8.5×11″ coloring books. The result is usually either a lot of wasted space at the top and bottom, or a rectangular pattern behind the mandala that just seems a little odd. Here, the book is perfectly square and the kaleidoscopic patterns are framed perfectly within its four even sides.
The artwork here is all by Alberta Hutchinson, and there is a really enjoyable amount of variation in the designs. Some mandala books have a few incredible, high quality illustrations, and the rest seem like parts are just copied and pasted or mixed and matched. Not so with these mandalas. The linework maintains that delightful, organic, hand-drawn quality that makes them so enjoyable to fill in. Nothing feels robotic here. All the lines are a nice medium to thick width that makes it possible to color with markers without too much fear of running past a thin line by accident.
While most of the designs are abstract shapes, many feature parts that look like leaves, and there are a few themed around specific objects — flowers, a sun, a ring of ornate vases. There are a good mix of designs begging for specific colors and abstract designs looking for whatever colors you want to throw at it.
Here is one of the pages I colored from my copy of Mandalas:
Markers are my favorite type of media for mandalas, and I used a mix of Tombow dual brush pens and Staedtler Triplus Fineliners, which were great for the tiny details. Like my page from Botanical Garden, I had absolutely no issues with bleed-through — seriously, nothing came through — but your results may vary, especially if you are using alcohol-based markers or doing any blending.
I removed the page from the book, because I like to be able to rotate mandalas 180 degrees as I color them in, and they tore out cleanly with little effort. I wish every coloring book had the pages attached like these books do! Especially Creative Haven’s books, which I somehow always manage to rip despite the perforations… (blargh)
The CD features a soothing mix of instrumental electronic, piano, and string music, along with some nature sounds like wind, running water, and chirping birds. The book describes it best: “The music of man and nature combines to weave an acoustic tapestry of wonderful richness and soothing tranquility.”
Here is a sample track:
Overall, I can whole-heartedly recommend this book, whether you are new to coloring mandalas, or have a whole collection of mandala coloring books. If you love this book, you can order it right here on Amazon, and make sure you enter the giveaway for a chance to win another Color With Music book!
Color With Music: Biblical Images & Themes
Color With Music: Biblical Images & Themes features, as you might have expected, a wide variety of religious imagery, from crosses to stained glass windows to vast cathedral interiors. Some of the designs are word clouds, which you can color in a variety of different ways. Others are images from your favorite bible stories, or repeating patterns and motifs. The CD isn’t specifically religious music, but rather calming music mixed to accompany the book.
Color With Music: Nature’s Wonders
Nature’s Wonders is a really nice title in the Color With Music series, with artwork by Llyn Hunter and Ruth Soffer. Inside you’ll find portraits of a variety of wild animals, including a lion, a chimpanzee, elephant, bison, turtle, and a variety of birds. The two artists have slightly different illustration styles; Hunter (who drew the two sample images above) has more of a whimsical, sketchy style that builds a lot of texture for you to color, while Soffer keeps things a little cleaner, giving you a lot of room to blend colors and build your own texture.
Here is a sample track from the CD:
Color With Music: Owls Of The Night
Owls are one of those eternally popular animals, and they make an excellent subject for this coloring book. The images inside are done in a vast array of styles, line widths, and levels of abstraction, by a variety of artists, but you are sure to find lots of pages to love.
Color With Music: Patterns Shapes & Designs
This is a really fun one! Sometimes you just need a really nice pattern to fill with color. If that sounds like you, have I got the book for you! Patterns Shapes & Designs features abstract shapes, paisley, swoops, swirls, and even some patterns based on more concrete subjects — one of my favorite pages features a bunch of junk food, such as burgers, popcorn, and donuts, all layered on top of one another in chaos.
Color With Music: Sea Life
Sea Life features 48 sea animal themed illustrations by Patricia Wynne and Kelly Montgomery. The animals featured include sea turtles, penguins, a manatee, a starfish, seahorses, jellyfish, and more.
The CD features soothing music with a water/wind theme. Here’s a sample track:
Color With Music: Wild About Cats
If you love cats, you’re going to love the selection of cats to color in this book. Wild About Cats features a number of different artists’ renditions of felines, both abstract/patterny and realistic, wild and domestic.
Color With Music: Spring Serenade
Spring Serenade is perfect for coloring to fit the season! This book features flowers, insects, and springtime birds and animals.
Color With Music: Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland features designs by two of my favorite Dover Publications artists: Marty Noble and Jessica Mazurkiewicz. From snowflakes to winter scenes to repeating patterns of knits and hot cocoa, this coloring frames some of my favorite winter motifs in a satisfying square format.
Here’s a glimpse of the accompanying, winter-themed CD:
GIVEAWAY TIME: Enter to win a free Amazon coupon code redeemable for ANY Color With Music title! Twenty free codes to give away!
Now is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Click the options below to enter to win a coupon code redeemable for any of the Color With Music titles listed above! Five winners will be drawn each week in May from the full pool of entrants, so the earlier you enter, the more chances you have to win!
Definitely make sure to follow and subscribe to Cleverpedia if you love coloring book giveaways, as there are more exciting giveaways on the horizon, and you will want to know about them! In addition to hearing about giveaways, you’ll get the scoop on great new coloring book releases, tips, interviews, and more. (Already follow me? Love it! Click the buttons below and you will receive the entries automatically!)
Also be sure to follow Color With Music to stay in the loop about their future releases and other innovations as they pave a brave new path in the coloring world and bring together art and music.
Make sure you use an email address that you check often to enter this giveaway! I’ll be contacting winners throughout May, but if I don’t hear back from you within a week, I’ll need to choose a new winner to keep things moving.
Thanks again to the Color With Music team for providing the review copies of Botanical Garden and Mandalas, and for providing the coupon codes for the giveaway!